Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Gomaespuminglish II

Gomaespuminglish Lechón Tú (2)

Here we are again with the funny Gomaespuminglish lessons. This is lesson 2.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Uncle Sam

Uncle Sam is a national personification of the United States, with the first usage of the term dating from the War of 1812 and the first illustration dating from 1852. He is often depicted as a serious elderly man with white hair and a goatee, with an obvious resemblance to President Andrew Jackson, and dressed in clothing that recalls the design elements of the flag of the United States—for example, typically a top hat with red and white stripes and white stars on a blue band, and red and white striped trousers.

Common folklore holds origins trace back to soldiers stationed in upstate New York, who would receive barrels of meat stamped with the initials U.S. The soldiers jokingly referred to it as the initials of the troops' meat supplier, Samuel Wilson of Troy, New York. The 87th United States Congress adopted the following resolution on September 15, 1961: "Resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives that the Congress salutes Uncle Sam Wilson of Troy, New York, as the progenitor of America's National symbol of Uncle Sam." Monuments mark his birthplace in Arlington, Massachusetts, and site of burial in Oakwood Cemetery, Troy, New York.

Source and more information: click here.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Traffic signs

Do you know what to do?

I don't have a clue!!!

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Travelling by plane

Do you like travelling? Have you ever travelled by plane? Did you enjoy it or was it a bad experience? Recently, the cost of flying has dropped and consequently, the number of people using air travel has increased. Airports are becoming more crowded, check-in queues are getting longer and there are more flight delays. However, flying is the fastest means of transport and it is statistically the safest way to travel. So, get relaxed and enjoy your flight!!!

The Travel Doctor: a very useful site that provides information for travelling safely.

Now, try and do these listening activities on "travelling by plane".

Exercise 1: Pre-listening vocabulary: Match up the expressions.
Exercise 2: Click on the words you hear.
Exercise 3: Complete the text and listen to check your answers.
Exercise 4: Is it exactly what you hear?

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Britain's Got Talent 2007 Winner: Paul Potts

Britain's Got Talent is a British television show in search for Britain's next best amateur talent act, featuring singers, dancers, comedians, variety acts, and other talents of all ages. Paul Potts was announced as the winner of Britain's Got Talent Series 1.

Paul’s first audition is and will remain most people’s favourite. This is what moves people. Click on the YouTube video below to see why. The video starts off by giving a brief profile of a humble, un-assuming mobile phone salesman from South Wales. As Paul Potts walked on the stage and spoke to Amanda Holden, no one gave him a chance. Perhaps it was that cheap Tesco (supermarket) suit he was wearing?! Amanda asked: “Paul, what are you here for today Paul?” Paul replied: “To sing opera”, looking at them with nervous puppy dog face, almost apologetically. Piers Morgan raised his eyebrows and looked at Simon Cowell who sighed, and then said: “OK, ready when you are”, who then looked down un-impressed.

And Then Paul Sang Nessun Dorma.....
As the music started and Paul waited for his first line, the audience and judges sat wondering what was going to happen next. Well, the rest is History. Paul Potts BLEW THE AUDIENCE AND JUDGES AWAY with a condensed version of Giacomo Puccini's "Nessun Dorma". The standing ovation from the audience was then summed up by Simon Cowell: “I wasn’t expecting that Paul!”

You can certainly see why it is one of the most watched videos on YouTube! Over 15 million people have watched this Paul Potts youtube video, one of the most watched of all time!

Friday, 25 April 2008

South Africa

The Republic of South Africa is a country located at the southern tip of Africa. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. English is one of the eleven languages spoken in South Africa.

The South African economy is the largest in Africa and 24th largest in the world. Due to this it is the most socially, economically and infrastructurally developed country on the continent.

South Africa has experienced a different history from other nations in Africa because of early immigration from Europe and the strategic importance of the Cape Sea Route. This country is ethnically diverse, with the largest Caucasian, Indian, and racially mixed communities in Africa. Black South Africans account for nearly 80% of the population.

Racial strife between the white minority and the black majority has played a large part in South Africa's history and politics, culminating in apartheid, which was instituted in 1948 by the National Party. The laws that defined apartheid began to be repealed or abolished by the National Party in 1990, after a long and sometimes violent struggle, including economic sanctions from the international community.

South Africa is often called the "Rainbow Nation", a term coined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and later adopted by then President Nelson Mandela. Mandela used the term "Rainbow Nation" as a metaphor to describe the country's newly developing multicultural diversity after segregationist apartheid ideology.

For more information click here.

South Africa is unique - with a number of attractions you won't find anywhere else in the world…


A short cruise from Cape Town's V&A Waterfront by ferry, this legendary island is a must-see on any newcomer's itinerary. This is where Nelson Mandela and his comrades were imprisoned for decades during the Apartheid era. Former inmates will take you on an insightful tour of the prison grounds. This historical island is now a World Heritage Site and a proclaimed nature conservation area.

Robben Island – World Heritage Site and symbol of hope.


About the size of Israel, the Kruger Park is the greatest of South Africa's many national parks which attract a great number of visitors intent on drinking in the wilderness. On guided walks, drives or self-drive, visitors have the best chance of spotting the Big Five (elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo) in this park.
A guided safari drive – one of the best ways to spot the Big Five.

For more information click here.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Countdown quizzes

Do you want to try and do a quiz in ninety seconds? Here you have 58 of them on different topics. Choose one and test your general knowledge!!!

Countdown Quizzes.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Future time in English

There is no "future tense" in English. However, there are multiple ways of expressing future time. Here you have some useful links to learn and practise them.

World Book Day

Today we celebrate World Book and Copyright Day (also known as International Day of the Book or World Book Days). But why today? why on 23rd April? I'll tell you: 23rd April is a symbolic date for world literature because on this date and in the same year of 1616, Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died.

It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors such as Maurice Druon, K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo. UNESCO's General Conference chose this day to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors, encouraging everyone, and in particular young people, to discover the pleasure of reading.

The idea for this celebration originated in Catalonia where on 23rd April, Saint George's Day, a rose is traditionally given as a gift for each book sold. In Spain, to celebrate this day, Cervantes' Don Quixote is read during a two-day "readathon" and the Miguel de Cervantes Prize is presented by the King in Alcalá de Henares.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Earth Day

On 22nd April we commemorate Earth Day. It is time to reflect on our own attitude towards the environment. Not only Earth Day, but EVERY DAY, is a time to act to protect our planet.

Earth Day reminds people of the need for continuing care which is vital to Earth’s safety. All of us have to do our part to conserve the Earth's natural resources. IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY, both as human beings and as inhabitants of this lovely planet.

Make every day EARTHDAY!

Monday, 21 April 2008

David Beckham

David Beckham is nowadays one of the most famous football players in the world. He was born in England in 1975. He currently plays for Los Angeles Galaxy in the USA.

His career began when he signed a professional contract with Manchester United, making his first-team debut in 1992 aged 17. He left Manchester United to sign for Real Madrid in 2003, where he remained for four seasons. In January 2007, it was announced that Beckham would leave Real Madrid and sign a five-year contract with Los Angeles Galaxy.

In 2004 he was the world's highest-paid footballer. Such global recognition has made him an elite advertising brand and a top fashion icon.

More details on David Beckham's biography.

How much do you know about Beckham? Find out by doing this quiz.

Video from Interview to David Beckham.

The commentary box: Beckham on England.

Sunday, 20 April 2008


Do you like cooking? Are you good at it? Find out by doing these exercises:

You can find more listening lessons here.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

William Shakespeare

Shakespeare is undoubtedly one of the most outstanding and well-known writers in the world. His works are read and studied worldwide and most of them have been filmed. Some of his lines are quoted by many people and, what is more, many expressions that we use every day originated in Shakespeare's plays. Have you ever heard these lines?

To be, or not to be, that is the question;
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to — 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep, perchance to dream. [...]”

Hamlet, 3.1. More.

William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language, and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18 he married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three children. Between 1585 and 1592 he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part owner of the playing company the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his sexuality, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others.
Shakespeare's early plays were mainly comedies and histories. Next he wrote mainly tragedies, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest examples in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights. Shakespeare was a respected poet and playwright in his own day, but his reputation did not rise to its present heights until the nineteenth century. His plays remain highly popular today and are consistently performed and reinterpreted in diverse cultural and political contexts throughout the world.

Source and more detailed biography: Wikipedia.

Some of Shakespeare's quotes. Some more.

Test on Shakespeare's biography.

Most of Shakespeare's plays have been filmed. Here you have Hamlet's soliloquy interpreted by Kenneth Branagh:

Friday, 18 April 2008

Conditional sentences

Learn the structure and uses of conditional sentences in English. Then, practise with these activities.

Zero Conditional
First Conditional
Second Conditional
Third Conditional

Test: First Conditional sentences
Test: First and Second Conditional sentences
Test: First, Second and Third Conditional sentences
A challenge: Conditional sentences I, II and III, and exceptions

The grammar section of the blog contains a very useful link to Conditional Sentences. You can find explanations, uses, exercises and tests.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Fashion designer

Incredible! Fashion has also reached the canine world!

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Learn English watching videos

Watching videos is a really enternaining way of learning a language. is a useful site where you can find lots of tools to help you better understand English: subtitles in English and Spanish, repetition of phrases that are hard to catch, notes explaining idioms and more...

Click here to have a look at it. You have a link in the miscellanea section of English is all around!

English proverbs and sayings

In this section you have a list of English proverbs and sayings with their Spanish equivalents. Everybody has uttered a proverb at least once. Think about a common one in Spanish. Can you find it below?

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Más vale pájaro en mano que ciento volando.

A cat in gloves catches no mice. Gato con guantes no caza ratones.

A friend in need is a friend indeed. En las malas se conocen a los amigos.

A word is enough to the wise. A buen entendedor, pocas palabras bastan.

All roads lead to Rome. Todos los caminos conducen a Roma.

Experience is the mother of knowledge. La experiencia es la madre de la ciencia.

One man's meat is another man's poison. Sobre gustos no hay nada escrito. / Para gustos, los colores.

The die is cast. La suerte está echada.

When there's a will, there's a way. Querer es poder.

This is just a selection, but there are plenty of proverbs.
Learn some of them by heart, and use them in your writings or in the classroom when talking to your mates or your teacher.
Source and more proverbs: Saber Inglés and Proverb resources.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park is located in Arizona and is one of the United States' oldest national parks. Within the park lies the Grand Canyon, a gorge of the Colorado River, considered to be one of the major natural wonders of the world. The park covers 4927 km² and the Canyon is 446 kms long. The canyon was created by erosion caused by ice, water and wind. The rushing waters of the Colorado River were the key factor, although Continental drift also contributed to its formation. Over five million visitors admire this gift from nature every year. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of preservation of the Grand Canyon area. This quotation shows his concern and love for the place:
“Do nothing to mar its grandeur, for the ages have been at work upon it and man cannot improve it. Keep it for your children, your children's children, and all who come after you."

Short reading and activity on the Grand Canyon National Park.
Extended reading and questions on the text.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Englishman in New York, by Sting

Have you ever heard this song? Do you know what it is about? Can you guess from the title? Is the singer American or British? Try to fill in the blanks before listening to the song.
Now listen to it and check your answers.

"Englishman In New York"

I don't drink _______ I take _______ my dear
I like my toast done on one side
And you can hear it in my _______ when I talk
I'm an Englishman in New York

See me _______ down Fifth Avenue
A walking cane here at my side
I take it everywhere I _______
I'm an Englishman in New York

I'm an _______ I'm a legal _______
I'm an Englishman in New York
I'm an _______ I'm a legal _______
I'm an Englishman in New York

If "Manners maketh man" as someone said
Then he's the _______ of the day
It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile
Be _______ no matter what they _______


Modesty, propriety can lead to notoriety
You _______ end up as the only one
Gentleness, sobriety are rare in this _______
At _______ a candle's brighter than the sun

Takes _______ than combat gear to make a man
Takes _______ than a license for a gun
Confront your _______, avoid them when you can
A gentleman will walk but never _______

If "Manners maketh man" as someone said
Then he's the _______ of the day
It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile
Be _______ no matter what they _______


Click here to see the complete lyrics.

Work in pairs and decide which words are related to England and which are related to the States. Then, answer these questions: Are British and American people described in the same way? How do you think this Englishman feels? Have you ever felt like that? Choose a sentence you like or don't like from the song and explain your song.

For more information on the song and the singer, click here.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

American or British English?

There are many varieties of English around the world, but American and British English are undoubtedly the most widely spread. It is important for a student of English as a foreign language to know the main differences between both varieties given that an incorrect use of them can lead to misunderstanding.
You will notice the differences if you watch an American movie and a British film.
American versus British English: Vocabulary.
American versus British English: Exercise 1, Exercise 2, Exercise 3,

Monday, 7 April 2008


Click here to do an activity on adolescence.

A love song: "My boo", Usher feat Alicia Keys

I hope you like it, it is a nice love song. It is not difficult to understand. Have a look at the lyrics, you'll find comparatives, "used to" and more grammar points you have already studied. Relax and enjoy the song!

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Creative people around the world!

On the streets of New York, Joshua Allen Harris creates inflatable animals by tying plastic shopping bags to the subway grates.

Good advertisement?

What do you think about this advertisement? Is it appealing? Will many people stop and buy at this shop? They should think about changing their marketing campaign, shoulnd't they?

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Aren't they cute? Care for animals, they would do it!

April Fools' Day - 1st April

What is April Fools' Day?
Do we have any similar celebration in Spain?
Does this picture give you any clue?
Yes, you have guessed: the equivalent of April's Fools Day takes place in Spain on December 28th, "el día de los Santos Inocentes", Holy Innocents' Day.